This Week’s Share
- Winter Squash
Carrots – The carrots in your share this week were seeded in early July. We seed carrots with an Earthway push seeder in three lines across a 3 foot wide bed top. The seeds are watered in and the bed top is kept moist during germination. A week after the carrots have been seeded, we use a propane flamer to burn back any weed seeds that may have germinated. This makes for a cleaner bed for the carrots to grow in. It is essential that we get our timing right on the flaming, so as not to burn any germinating carrots. If all goes well the carrot seeds will germinate and grow a little, we’ll do one hand weed and a weekly watering and cultivation, and then some 3 months later, you’ll have carrots on your table.
Chard – Did you know that chard and beets are one and the same species? Breed for a big round root and Beta vulgaris is called a beet, breed for a more tender leafy green and you get chard.
Celery – This year has been exceptionally good for “Tall Utah”. I don’t know if it’s due to its location – between two Brussels sprout beds or if it’s just liked our cool, wet fall weather.
Garlic – Garlic is considered either “softneck” or “hardneck”. Softneck Garlic produce 6-18 cloves in several layers around a soft central stem. Hardneck garlic typically produce 5-9 cloves per head. They grow in a single circle around a central woody stem. These varieties also produce, or attempt to produce, a flower stalk. Hardneck garlics have a shorter storage life than softnecks. This week’s variety is Silverskin a softneck variety.
Lettuce – This week will be the last for head lettuce this season. Enjoy a crisp, leafy salad this week of Red Cross (butter) and Magenta (summercrisp), and look forward to next May’s harvest of head lettuces. Planning for those lettuce plantings and harvests is just around the corner as we begin our 2008 crop plan. We hope to include some new lettuce varieties in our plan for 2008 from the lettuce variety trials we worked on this year with Seeds of Change.
Onions – If you attended the allium planting party in April of this year, then these onions are the bulbs of your labor.
Peppers – Try broiling, skinning, and freezing for a great treat this winter.
Potatoes – Why didn’t the mother potato want her daughter to marry the famous newscaster? Because he was a commontater.
Tomatoes – Eddie, one of the chefs at Caffe Allora first requested the San Marzano variety of sauce tomato that we’ve been growing this year. They are the tomato he knew best growing up in Rome. This year we grew all the San Marzanos under our Haygrove high tunnels. The added bit of heat and protection from the fall rains has made for a bountiful harvest. We’re doing a BIG pick this week before we get a frost that will put an end to tomato season. So make tomato soup, or pasta sauce, or pizza… Buon appetito!
Winter Squash – Sugarloaf is a Delicata type squash and they are exceptionally sweet. There are many winter squash recipes that I love – winter squash risotto, winter squash ravioli, winter squash enchiladas to name a few. But these are so good that I really encourage you to try them in their simplest form, just cut in half and de-seed, oil the cut side lightly, place cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 until you can push a fork into the flesh through the skin with ease. For a full description of all the varieties we grow see last week’s blog.
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors
1 1/2 lbs San Marzanos
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chopped oregano, thyme, or marjoram
1 garlic clove
– Preheat the oven to 300.
– Oil a large shallow baking dish.
– Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise
– Set them in the baking dish cut side up and brush with olive oil, using about 1 tablespoon in all.
– Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
– Bake for a couple of hours, uncovered.
– Check after the first hour and drizzle with a little more oil if the tomatoes look dry.
Try using the roasted tomatoes on pasta, pizza, or in soup. Or freeze them for the winter months ahead.
Adapted from Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Vegetables
1 big bunch of chard
1 clove of garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
-Preheat the oven to 375.
-Cut off the stems.
-Cook the chard in lightly salted, boiling water for a quick 90 seconds.
-Drain the chard and squeeze out the water from the leaves.
-Chop into 3/4 inch pieces.
-Peel and mince the garlic.
-Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet and saute the chard, turning as the chard wilts.
-Add the garlic and cook for 7-8 more minutes uncovered, until the chard leaves have just softened.
-Warm the milk in a small sauce pan.
-Sprinkle the flour over the chard and stir it in.
-Cook for another minute and then add the milk, one quarter cup at a time, as it is absorbed by the chard.
-Season the chard with a light grating of nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
-Transfer to a buttered gratin dish (the chard should be about 1 inch thick).
-Cover evenly with bread crumbs.
-Bake for 35 minutes until the crumbs have browned.
From the Fields
I have had a close eye on the thermometer lately. Rumors of an early winter and a field full of winter squash have kept me on edge. But so far, we have hovered in the mid-forties at night and last week we got all the winter squash tucked safely into big bins under the cover of the pole barn roof. That’s all 7,648 of them. We have also been working on an experimental planting of salad greens in the Haygrove high tunnels. In the past the salad greens we harvest in mid-November to early December have been direct seeded. The direct seeded greens don’t compete as well with weeds at this time of year. They also grow close together when they are direct seeded, which makes for less airflow, leading to more disease and rot. This year we are transplanting all 15 of the Haygrove beds. It’s lots of work up front, but hopefully will pay off in less time weeding and healthier plants. We are still trying to find time for onion and garlic planting – our last big field projects for the season. Once our last planting of the season is done, we will focus primarily on harvesting the crops that are still out in the fields. And as for those rumors of an early winter, many of the crops that are still out in the field; the Brussels sprouts, the collards, the parsnips, the kale and carrots, will all be sweeter as the thermometer drops. So if you are mourning for those last tomatoes, know that the fall bounty is still on its way and has its own sweetness to savor.